On Wednesday night, Microsoft held the first official “community mixer” event for the community leaders of the tri-state area, which was a great opportunity for all of us to meet face to face. We’ve been having monthly conference calls to keep abreast of all the happenings within the local user groups, but that feels a little stilted at times.

It’s been a great experience helping to revive the .NET user group in Stamford with Louis Edouard and Leo Junquera, and the response to the upcoming code camp has been phenomenal. Hobnobbing with some of the stars in the .NET community at the mixer was an extra bonus, and these types of events help motivate us to take all of this to the next level. It reminds us why we’re excited to be a part of it, and the passion clearly showed that night.

Peter Laudati and Bill Zack were gracious hosts, and invited us to participate with ideas of how Microsoft can be of even more help in our efforts. The general consensus was that they’re already doing a great job — a tremendous improvement compared to a few years ago (although my direct experience is only recent). They made it clear that we’re all developer evangelists also, and you know something? They’re right. We volunteer to do this for many reasons, such as our love for technology and software development, our passion for .NET, our drive to help others to learn more about the tools of our trade, and our desire to stay connected with others as excited about our field as we are.

Several great ideas were discussed beyond the standard monthly user group meeting format, including lab and Open Spaces formats, which I find very intriguing. Jeremy Miller, who also attended the mixer, had a very positive experience of this format at the recent ALT.NET conference. You can be sure to read more about those ideas here as they’re fleshed out over the coming year.

I actually got to play a bit of Halo 3 with David Laribee, not that I knew what the hell I was doing. Was the last first-person shooter I played Doom or Wolfenstein 3D? Yes, it has been that long EEK. And at the end of the evening, Peter demonstrated the cool updates in Live Search Maps.

Definitely a lot of fun. I’m hoping they have these on a regular basis.

Can this post have more links? Rolling Eyes